So I’m buying a bottle or two and splitting them with a buddy. Already reviewed the first one (check out Cragganmore Archives if you haven’t) and he asked if I was down to split Invergordon 31 1987 North Star.
I can’t say how others decide to spend on their hobby. I am privileged enough to have grown up in a household where I learned how to save money, where I didn’t need to take massive debt to go to school, and where I have a mentality of “when I have the money I’ll buy it”. I’m living good, that’s all I gotta say. So if others do it differently that’s why. I’m pretty lucky.
So I took a look at my expenses, what else was coming out, the lower Dungeons and Dragons amount, and decided “I don’t know if I like Invergordon, but hell, it’s a 31 year old whisky”.
So of course you know given the age, price, and maybe by searching the internet that this is a single grain. It’s one of 6 only single grain dedicated distilleries, running it’s Coffey stills enough to anger the Emerald Isles all over again.
So we have a whisky that was originally made to be blended. Again. However now we have something that someone could have mixed into a blend that said 31-years-old. Why didn’t they? Probably got more money from selling it to an independent bottler. But let’s pretend that’s not the obvious answer and find out, shall we?
Price: € 156
Cask type: Barrel (oh few, I was worried you kept it in a whale’s blowhole)
Number of bottles: 190
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Butterscotch on the hob, tangerine, violets, gulab jamun, gingerbread house
Immediate strong, boiling sugar/cream/butter notes. There’s a difference between cooking the sugar and smelling it everywhere and just smelling a bit. This is a ton of butterscotch.
Gets a bit hot, floral, some candy going on. If anything I feel like it leans on sugar notes quite a bit. That said it’s balanced with the variety of flavours.
Taste: Vanilla custard, guava, mineral, Smarties, jujubes
Very strong floral and vanilla notes. If this was in anything other than an ex-Bourbon cask I’d be surprised, but keep asking whales if they know where it came from.
Gets sweeter here. There’s still some nice floral but less spice and the mineral does a good job on balance but doesn’t quite make it, like that time I lifted a 60L keg. Which based on how my back feels all day was a bad idea.
Finish: Violets, plum, caramel, pear, cinnamon hearts, rye bread
Similar to before, however, it gets really hot. Also blends quite a few things that can make it hard to nail down, like attempting to bearhug a jellyfish.
For one second you are having cinnamon spread on bread, and then you’re having cinnamon pears, and then you’re having a fruity/floral note. Then the wrong flavours hit or all hit and you’re like “is this dessert or the appetizer?”
Conclusion: Hot, floral, fun, and oddball. I love floral drams. A lot. And if this was better balanced or less odd it’d be an easy win. The complexity drops off as time goes on and it’s less cohesive. The sugar gets a bit angry, like a white man when you stop paying attention to him for a minute or two and he has access to guns.
That said it’s easily the cheapest way to have an older whisky that still tastes quite nice. While I can’t speak to other Invergordon (save one), I’ll be keeping an eye out for good releases like this one.
Scotch review #1412, Highland review #227, Whisky Network review #2092